Overview of our Between Shades Of Gray Official Private Tour
It is a great honour for us to be the official organisers of Between Shades of Gray tours in Lithuania. We have shared in Ruta Sepetys' extraordinary journey; from arranging Ruta's first trip to Lithuania, to the release of the book-based movie Ashes in the Snow. Ruta is our dear friend and we aim to support her wonderful storytelling by showing you the true beauty of Lithuania contrasted with the haunting history told in Between Shades of Gray and Ashes in the Snow.
Between Shades of Gray is a reminder to humanity that we must never let such events happen again. Here in Lithuania we live with these reminders all around but are also graced with historic architecture, rolling countryside, unspoilt nature, traditions and culture, language and community - all of which make the Lithuanian spirit strong and have moved our country on so much in recent years.
Come and visit Lithuania. Visit the places that inspired Ruta to write the book, feel Ruta's words come to life when you are standing in a cattle truck used for deportation, a prison camp used for interrogation or the secret Cold War missile base in the depths of the Lithuanian countryside.
Learn about Lithuania from local guides including our very own Linas Zabaliunas who has accompanied Ruta on this incredible journey.
"Linas Zabaliunas arranged my very first trip to Lithuania in 2005. He organized complex travel throughout the entire country as well as meetings with extended family members. I returned to Lithuania the very next year, this time on a research project for a novel I dreamed of writing. Once again, a complex trip with extensive research for my project was organized. I could never have dreamed that my book would become a worldwide bestseller and change the course of my life—and it would not have been possible without Linas Zabaliunas. Many years have passed and Baltic Holidays is still part of every trip I take to Lithuania. We began working together as strangers and I now consider them my dearest friends."
Ruta Sepetys, New York Times Bestselling Author
* Please note that Ruta Sepetys is not directly connected with this tour, nor with the company Baltic Holidays and will not be present during this tour. This tour is simply inspired by Ruta's work and our personal connections to her journey.
Itinerary for our Between Shades Of Gray Official Private Tour
DAY 1 - Vilnius
Private transfer from Vilnius Airport To Your Hotel
You will be met in the arrivals hall by your driver who will be holding a board with your name written on it for your private transfer from Vilnius airport to your hotel in Vilnius.
Mabre Residence Hotel
The Mabre Hotel, Vilnius, has been a great favourite with our clients since 2001. Housed in a converted 13th century monastery set around a peaceful courtyard, the Mabre has a calm, friendly and warm atmosphere. Recently refurbished, the rooms are spacious, comfortable and classically decorated.
DAY 2 - Vilnius
Vilnius 3 Hour Walking Tour Plus KGB Museum
You will be met in the reception area of your hotel by your English speaking guide for your privately guided 3 hour walking tour of Vilnius Old town plus the KGB museum at a time suitable to you.
DAY 3 - Vilnius
Trakai Castle & Grutas Park (Day Trip From Vilnius)
This enjoyable day trip visits two of Lithuania's unique sights in the company of our friendly English speaking driver.
Grutas Park Soviet Sculpture Park has grown from strength to strength since we first visited. The local 'mushroom millionaire' bought up many of the old discarded Soviet statues that people were happy to see torn down from town squares across Lithuania, and parked them up here anticipating that one day they'd come in handy... and they did! Grutas Park is a museum of Soviet sculptures, where Stalin and Lenin can be sat upon for photos, and the exhibition has developed with many more interesting attractions to keep you entertained.
Trakai Castle is a stunning island castle; walk out across the wooden bridges and explore the inner courtyard and exhibitions, before returning to the mainland and wandering the picturesque streets of Trakai village with its wooden houses and try a local 'kibinai'... look back to view Trakai Castle in all its splendour, a truly iconic Lithuanian view.
The day trip starts with our driver picking you up at your hotel at 10.00 and you will return to Vilnius approximately 18.30. Lunch is available at the restaurant at Grutas Park (not everything has mushrooms!) but this is not included. The tour goes at your pace and if you need to stop our driver will be happy to do so.
DAY 4 - Viilnius - Kaunas
Vilnius To Kaunas Via Rumsiskes private transfer with our English-speaking driver-guide. Rumsiskes is the open air ethnographic museum of Lithuania, a wonderful countryside park filled with example houses from the regions of Lithuania. Also, a Siberian yurt reconstructed to tell the story of the deportation of many Lithuanians under Soviet rule.
Best Western Santakos Hotel
Centrally located inbetween the city centre and Kaunas Old Town, this is a perfect location in the heart of everything for day and night, and easy to pop back to your hotel for a rest during sightseeing. The Santaka is in a lovely historic red brick building, on a cobbled side street in Kaunas. It has an excellent bar, cafe, restaurant, and we think it does a superb Apple Pie!
DAY 5 - Kaunas
Kaunas City Tour And 9th Fort (From Kaunas)
10.00 you will be picked up by your driver-guide and enjoy a 2 hour walking tour of Kaunas old town and city centre. During the tour you will see Kaunas Old Town including the Town Hall, Kaunas Castle, Vytautas Church, Perkuno Namai (Devil's House) and Laisves Aleja (Liberty Avenue) the longest pedestrian street in Eastern Europe.
12.00 Lunch in national dish restaurant in Kaunas Old Town (payable locally)
13.00 Trip continues to the 9th Fort museum.
13.15 Approximate arrival to museum.
The 9th Fort museum contains collections of historical artifacts related both to Soviet atrocities and the Nazi genocide, as well as materials related to the earlier history of Kaunas and the 9th Fort.
The memorial to the victims of Nazism at the 9th Fort in Kaunas, Lithuania, was designed by sculptor A. Ambraziunas.The mass burial place of the victims of the massacres carried out in the fort is a grass field, marked by a simple yet frankly worded memorial written in several languages. It reads, "This is the place where Nazis and their assistants killed more than 30,000 Jews from Lithuania and other European countries."
15.30 Approximate end of the excursion.
16.00 Approximate arrival back to Kaunas.
DAY 6 - Kaunas - Palanga
Kaunas To Palanga Via Cold War Museum
Private transfer from Kaunas to Palanga with a stop at the Cold War Museum in Plateliai (the former USSR Nuclear Missile Base).
Your private transfer will include a stop off and visit to the Cold war Museum in Plokstine, about 20 miles from Palanga. This place was secret until the early 2000’s and was the missile base where soviet Nuclear missiles were aimed at cities in the West Including Hamburg and Birmingham. Not only will you be walking and talking in a very secret base, but a Cold War Museum has been created to remind you of this very tense time in our history.
Palanga Hotel & Spa
The 5* Palanga Spa hotel is located a short walk from Palanga town centre, in the midst of the evergreen forest. The hotel is quite a feat in design as it stands literally among the pine trees, rumour has it not one tree was cut down in order to build the hotel.
DAY 8 - Palanga - Klaipeda
The Magic Of The Curonian Spit
This is a day trip with a guide and their car, which focusses on the Curonian Spit.
Visiting this unique place in Lithuania will be a memorable experience during your stay in this beautiful country. You will have a chance to admire amazing sights, sandy dunes, pine trees and the Baltic sea. In Juodkrante you will have the possibility to visit the Hill of Witches an open-air museum based on legends and Lithuanian fairy tales. Visiting Nida - is the main destination of this trip. Nida is famous for being a former fishermen village, nowadays it is a resort with the highest sand dunes where you can see a panoramic view of the spit. This excursion also includes visiting the old Lutheran church and cemetery and the amber gallery in Nida. Please note for families this tour can be tailored to suit your family, eg. shortened, or more time on Witches Hill or running in the sand dunes!
This tour lasts 7 hours.
DAY 9 - Palanga
Private Transfer From Your Hotel To Palanga Airport
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